Do you love the idea of zooming past other riders with your longboard but can’t quite do it yet? Is it because of you or the longboard that hinders you from speeding up? Well, the answer is probably both.
But is there a way to make your longboard go faster? Luckily, yes there is. There are ways to improve your longboard’s speed by making some tweaks to it. Here are some simple tips that will help make your ride faster.
How to Make Your Longboard Faster
1. Clean Your Longboard Bearings
One reason why you can’t go faster with your longboard is probably because of the bearings. Your longboard needs maintenance, and you need to keep the wheel bearings clean to keep them working properly.
If you ride all the time especially on dirty, muddy sidewalks, your bearings can accumulate dirt, mud, leaves, and other debris. They may be stuck on your bearings which may cause your longboard to go slow. So, cleaning and lubing them will do the trick.
How to Clean Your Bearings
- The first step is to remove the wheels so you can get the bearings inside. To do this, you need to unscrew and remove the nut. Then pull the wheel slightly without removing it. Wiggle the wheel in the axle and wait for the bearing to become loose.
- Then completely remove the wheel, making sure the bearing is still on the axle. Flip the wheel and slide it on the axle again beside the first bearing. Wiggle the wheel and wait for the other bearing to pop. You should find the second bearing once you remove the wheel from the axle. Repeat the process with the remaining wheels.
- Wipe clean the dirt and dust using a soft clean cloth. Soak the bearings in any available cleaning agent like alcohol, acetone, paint thinner, or even gasoline. You can put the cleaning liquid in a bottle and soak the bearings while shaking the bottle. Be sure to remove the shield of the bearing before doing this.
- You will notice that the liquid with turn dark. After that, remove the bearings from the bottle and place them on a clean cloth. Pat dry each bearing or you can let it air dry.
2. Lubricate Your Bearings
After cleaning your bearings. pour or you can spray the lubricant on the bearings. Let the lubricant spread inside. Turn on the other side and put some lubricant, too. It’s best to use a silicone-based lubricant; avoid using WD40-type petroleum-based lubricants as they can draw more dirt into your bearings.
Put the bearings back and check if changed your longboard’s performance. This should make you ride smoother and faster. Remember to do this regularly on your bearings.
3. Loosen the Axle Nuts
One reason why your longboard tends to be slow is the axle nuts may be too tight. Try loosening them a bit to help your wheels spin freely. Ease up the bolts a little, but not too much that it could come off the axle.
4. Tighten Your Trucks
After doing the tips above and you still find that you can’t get much speed, try to tighten the trucks. They may be a little loose and this may cause your wheels to wobble too much. This will help delay the wobbling of your board as you try to reach a higher speed.
5. Replace and Upgrade Your Bearings
It may be time to replace your bearings if cleaning and lubing didn’t do your longboard any good. One way to find out if your bearings need replacement is when you hear a squeaking sound when you ride your longboard even after cleaning and lubing them.
Most completes don’t come with high-quality parts. So, if your current bearings are still the ones from when you purchased your pre-assembled longboard, there’s a good chance you already need to replace them.
6. Change and Upgrade Your Wheels
Now, it’s not only the bearings that may need replacement. Wheels also play an important part in making your longboard go faster. You may want to change them with bigger wheels. There’s a lot of things to consider when choosing the right wheels and we’ll discuss that further later in this article.
7. Road Quality
Now, the problem may not be with your longboard at all but with your environment. Longboarding on rougher roads will hinder you from going faster. Choosing a smoother road will help you get the momentum you need to speed up.
8. Improve Your Riding Skills
Lastly, which is also very important, is your riding skills. You may have the best longboard and you’ve got the perfect place to ride, but maybe it’s your riding skill that’s letting you down. Practicing and learning how to ride faster and control speed will help a lot.
Choosing the Right Wheels and Bearings
Wondering what kind of bearings or wheels to use on your board to gain more speed? As promised earlier, we’ll show you how to choose the right wheels to improve your speed. As a bonus we’ll also give some tips on how to find high-quality bearings.
Should you choose bigger or smaller wheels for your longboard? Bigger wheels tend to be faster, plus they can cover more distance. They also have lesser bearings friction compared to smaller wheels.
However, when it comes to acceleration, smaller ones are better as they get your momentum earlier on the ride. When it comes to rough or bumpy roads, bigger wheels will give you an advantage in terms of speed.
- Wheel Hardness
The durometer of your wheels makes a big difference in your longboard’s speed. Harder wheels on smooth roads or surfaces can make you ride faster since there is less compression. However, riding on very hard wheels on rough roads may slow you down.
Hence, choose wheels that are hard but not too hard that it will slow you down on bumpy roads. Softer wheels provide better grip but may cause speed loss on cracks and rough surfaces.
- Wheel Core
Since wheel cores are made are also made of solid materials, they provide less compression. The harder your wheel cores are, the faster you can ride on smooth surfaces. However, they will make you slow on bumpy roads.
So, what’s the right combination of wheels to make your longboard faster? When longboarding, you usually ride on bumpy pavements, so you’d better get bigger wheels that have a durometer of medium to hard, and wheel cores of small to medium. This setup should make you ride smoother and faster even on uneven surfaces.
However, keep in mind that the kind of wheels you will get would still largely depends on your deck’s size and shape.
So, when it comes to finding high-quality bearings, look for something that has built-in spacers. The country where it was manufactured also matters. High-quality bearings are usually manufactured in Germany or Switzerland.
Don’t mind the ABEC ratings too much as it does not correlate with the quality of the bearings when it comes to longboarding. Basically, what you need to check on your bearings are the plastic cage, curvature, and also rubber seals.
When it comes to materials used, ceramic bearings are considered the best in terms of making your longboard go faster. However, they are more expensive and fragile compared to steel bearings.
How to Improve Your Riding Skills
Now that you know how to make your longboard go faster, are you also ready to take your riding skills to the next level? If you are, here are the things you need to do:
Wear Protective Gear
Sometimes, fear can overwhelm a rider which prevents them from riding faster. To lessen your fear, always wear protective gear to make you more confident and comfortable in speeding up. Find good quality and fitting helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and gloves.
Learn How to Slow Down and Stop
Have you ever asked yourself why you can’t go faster even if you have a decent and capable longboard? Maybe the answer is you’re afraid that you won’t be able to stop when you ride at high speed. That’s normal and it’s okay to be afraid but if you want to go faster, you need to overcome that fear.
The next time you ride, work on your foot braking, air braking, short kicks, and push brake by lowering your center of gravity. Those types of brakes will help you slow down and stop during high-speed rides.
Work on Your Tuck Stance
A tuck stance is when you lower your center of gravity. By doing this, you’ll be able to ride with more stability and even faster. When performing a tuck stance, your chest and knee should be as close as possible. With both hands at your back, you need to minimize your silhouette or close any air pockets. This stance should increase your speed from 30 to 50mph if you do it right.
Do you think you’ll be able to speed up the next time you ride? Riding faster on your longboard is a combination of both your skills and the components of your longboard. So, if you want to improve your riding speed, tweaking your longboard is not the only solution. Ultimately, confidence also plays an important role in helping you go faster.